I Refuse to Travel Without These Comfortable Shoes
With all the many uncertainties and unpleasantries of air travel—mediocre food, obnoxious seatmates, flight delays that leave you taxiing around the tarmac for what seems like an eternity—what you wear is one of the few elements you can control. Which is why I've worn the same pair of sneakers on every flight I've taken in the past year: Allbirds Wool Runners, which are deceptively simple feats of footwear engineering that manage to be cosy enough to depart out Melbourne at 7 a.m. in August sans socks, and yet they are breathable enough to land in Brisbane and not have you scrambling for the nearest pair of sandals.
Now, however, they may have some competition, as the direct-to-consumer brand has just launched the second style in its repertoire: a slip-on shoe called the Lounger, which is made from the same New Zealand merino wool as the original runners, and it comes in four colourways—navy, pine (a dark, heathered green), slate (a light grey), and lemon (a surprisingly wearable pale yellow). And, like the runner, it comes in both men's and women's sizes, and it retails online only for $125. According to co-founder Tim Brown, the new style has been in the works since the company's early days, but the runaway success of its initial launch has kept the brand occupied for the better part of the year, during which the team has set up a headquarters in San Francisco, and it has grown from four or so employees to a team of more than 30.
With its flat sole and easy-on, easy-off design, the Lounger as close as you can get to wearing slippers out in public and getting away with it—and I don't know about you, but that's what I want on a long-haul across the Atlantic. Just one pro tip: Remember to bring an extra pair of socks for security.
Below, shop all four colours of the new Allbirds Wool Lounger.